Last week on Twitter, there was a big kerfuffle because Borough Press, a UK imprint of HarperCollins, commandeered the hashtag that Donalyn Miller created six years ago for teachers to share the books they read over the summer. It's called the #bookaday challenge, and it is what it says: read a book a day during the summer and share it on Twitter. It has been an incredibly useful form of professional learning for teachers, as they can see what others are reading and talking about as a way to know what to bring back and talk about in their classrooms in the fall.
Borough Press didn't bother to research whether the hashtag was already in use, or if they did, they didn't seem to care, and chose to use #bookaday for their own marketing, creating a schedule of book-related tasks for Twitter users to complete such as:
Book I own more than one copy of
Book with a blue cover
Book that doesn't belong to me
Book I forgot I owned
Compared to Donalyn's version of #bookaday, these tasks were all very trivial and muddied the feed of what teachers and librarians were trying to use for the benefit of their profession and their students.
At first, Borough Press would not waver, going so far as to say that because they were using the hashtag, it was trending. Their "apology" had a very #sorrynotsorry tone to it, and so I felt compelled write a poem a la William Carlos Williams, via Gail Carson Levine:
This whole situation felt like yet another example of a big corporation silencing the voices of teachers. But because so many teachers and librarians caused enough of a stir, and Donalyn also brought up the fact that #bookaday is referenced in her copyrighted work, Borough Press finally backed off and created a new hashtag, #bookadayUK.
The result of this unfortunate situation has restored my faith that teachers' voices do matter, can be heard, and can make a difference across the din of corporations muddying the educational waters. We're so used to hearing teachers' voices silenced or sullied that even a small victory like this is still a victory. We might be "small," but we are mighty.